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About J.M.S.

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  • Birthday 12/26/1970

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    Photographer, Graphic Artist, Art Director
  1. Monopolies and Antitrust

    I use italics, myself : ) Will you understand that I am not concerned with what I or anyone else 'deserves' and have never used that word in that context. Now, since you've refused to read my postings for a third time, you are quadruply wrong. I saw the fault in my original hesitant propos through y_feldblum's critique. There is no reason for me not to do so here with yours. I meant 'I learned therefore I know' and my correction of my misuse of the word 'deserve' corresponds exactly with that thought. If you care to read back a ways I had already annuled all polemic on that hestiation and even any suggestion thereof with "One low-qual high-price product sold means that there's one consumer dumb enough to buy it." Tit for tat, even Steven. A trade. Drop it, you can know what I mean if you want to. Next?
  2. Monopolies and Antitrust

    If you had read the rest of the thread it would be quite obvious that I am totally uncconcerned with what 'I deserve' - my problem is trying to determine a system which in reality I have thought little about until now and know little about thus I am unable to analyze until, as was pointted out to me, I learn more about it. There is nothing about 'deserving' in that line of thought so it's your jumping on the one albeit badly-used word that is lame. I learn, therefore I know au lieu de I deserve is obviously much clearer. This makes you triple wrong. Don't accuse me of 'trying' anything, I am not here to impress anyone. For a moderator, you sure are emotional. Now, if you please? For now I am still working out the economics of it all, and my reading with the aid of a few diagrams based hereon it's becoming simpler. At this point I have to say that I am still persuaded that a too-high profit margin over the production cost of a product is detrimental to the base of the system which is why, in order to maintain high profit margins throughought the 'homeland' production/distribution/marketing system, major companies have begun to seek resources and labour at a lower cost elsewhere. Seeking IMHO means also 'US interests' which is a yet darker angle but I wont' go there yet. Now, before you accuse me of coming up with communist theories I'm still working on it and am not devising any means of control with myself at the centre. I am simply trying to understand. Without the pointless accusation and flurry of back-patting I wouldn't even be posting here today.
  3. Monopolies and Antitrust

    Wrong wrong wrong. Non sequitur. I never stated or even insinuated anything of the kind, the closest I've come to anything remotely personal is naively 'worrying about the big baddie tricking all those stupid people'. Still that has nothing at all to do with myself and what I 'deserve.' My conversation may be pointless to you, but not to me, so no need to share that information. If you're not interested then just don't post. Next?
  4. Monopolies and Antitrust

    deserve better = know better my mistake.
  5. Monopolies and Antitrust

    Nothing is obvious to me for the time being, but now that you've negated your earlier statement everything fits together much better, thank you. I understand quite well that if I think a product has no value that I don't have to buy it, and I understand also that there's not much I can do if I see that everyone thinks and does the opposite. This means that I am deserving of better because I took the pains to look past what's in been placed in front of me to educate myself; those who blank out in thinking that what's in front of them is the best or only choice for reasons like 'everyone is using it', they're going to, by my standards, pay an unwarrented price for an unoriginal and disfunctional product. Thus, on the same note, I can think based on what I have taken the time to learn that the maker of that product is undeserving of what he recieves as reward, yet I cannot speak for, or even think for, others who don't know any better. Fine. Yet - I see low-qual high-price (thus 'profit-oriented') products as causing damage to the economy they depend on and, beginning in the mid-1800's, sapping often still-developing others. Yet I must think a little more about that before posting here.
  6. Monopolies and Antitrust

    Hmmmm. After re-reading the whole thread a few things are clearer but there are still a few conflicting points – well, one major – that I’d like to clear up. RationalEgoist, it seems that the people you were debating with had the same reservations as I do - did – but I think that this stems from the fact that they base their thinking on the existing system whereas Objectivist thinking always builds from the ground up – from the individual who knows A as A. Perhaps, to make your argument more effective, you would have had to elaborate on that before you progressed to the argument itself – a line of reasoning that they would perhaps at first consider ‘off-topic’. Anyhow, a few things said here became clear when I set aside my reservations about the existing system and went back to think forward from zero. After taking a step back to look through neutral eyes, I see my attempt to apply logic to my emotionally motivated reservations with today’s system. Obviously the ‘big baddie’ in my mind is Microsoft – my knowledge of programming and its history makes this even more so – and I am rather dismayed at their success. But then I answered my own unclear doubts with my last post – no matter what the quality of their product and how much they charge for it, it’s ‘fair play’ as long as someone buys it. So, a change from my former ideas, instead of trying to limit or punish M$ (and I never did see any logical grounds or means to do that) we should work to make a better product and, by making consumers aware of it, giving them a second point of comparison so that they can judge the difference in quality for themselves. This is how it should be, this is quite clear to me now. Now to what’s still unclear to me. This may begin in a seemingly off-topic way but please bear with me. I, of a rather middle-class ‘normal’ upbringing, had spent most of my teenage years wrestling with the illogical ideals passed on to me before (also with the help of Rand) I was able to discard them to think for myself. Thus I had to spend a precious time ‘un-educating myself before I could decide for myself what I wanted from life. I consider my first education as indoctrination. I chose a career that is fairly independent from the system, therefore able to distance myself from it and take the time to grow away from it. But, as far as the general population is concerned, not everyone has the freedom to choose and time to decide that I do. MS owes its success to the fact that it was the first to educate people into using its product, people who, because MS was the first used by all it had become a ‘standard,’ hadn’t enough time and money to change their practices, thus were forced with every upgrade into buying the same product. Without these circumstances, MS wouldn’t for sure have a quasi-monopoly today. Is this ‘indoctrination’ what they’re calling ‘anti-trust’? As things go things are taking a gradual but natural course; other companies are making their formats compatible with MS (though MS is working to its damnedest in the opposite direction) to simplify and reduce the cost of an eventual ‘consumer-aware’ switchover – but could this inequality have been avoided? I personally don’t see any way it could have, but I ask this because, y_feldblum, you said that a Capitalist business is ‘regulated’: Now in the Objectivist sense, and seemingly by the Capitalistic one, it would be for me myself to regulate my own practices in provision for the demand others have for my product. Therefore I would be free to adopt any marketing ‘tactic’ I want to or to exploit any market ‘weakness’ that I can see. Is the regulation you mention about controlling this, and if so, what form should this ‘regulation’ have, and on what level?
  7. Monopolies and Antitrust

    balance, balance... Well, One low-qual high-price product sold means that there's one consumer dumb enough to buy it : )
  8. Monopolies and Antitrust

    Alright, point(s) taken. I perhaps am asking questions whose answers are already evidence for most of you; what I was hoping for, if I am thought wrong, was insight as to why. My hesitation to pronouce certain subjects tems from the fact that I've never really thought about it to any depth, probably like most everyone in the world. It's not giving me credit for wanting to change that that 'hurts' my self-esteem. I was disappointed at your misunderstanding of my intentions and propos but I've never made any accusation of 'not knowing' anything. As far as myself is concerned you can leave 'feeling' and 'mysticysm' aside, I follow nothing of the sort - the facts I am aware of point in a certain direction and I'm using them to think my way forward. Rand's works have rung a lot of bells in my head and even affected my life from a very early age, and though her lessons have served me well and have even become an integral part of my own thought processes about my own life, here I try to apply them to a greater number - the world, if possible. I thought that one of the basic reasons for this place was making Objectivism accessible to 'outsiders' - if this place is in fact for those seeking to be (or who are) professional philosophers then it's true that I have no place here. But enough on that. As far as I've understood so far you define companies such as Microsoft as being even a definition for Capitalism. This wouldn't be so bad if people, on the other hand, were less hesitant to think for themselves, things would balance out and Microsoft would be obliged to better its product. Perhaps it all comes down to a question of balance. Anyhow, that's more knowledge then I came here with.
  9. Monopolies and Antitrust

    The only thing emotional about this thread is annoyance at feeling obligated to answer your picking apart what you choose not to understand in my posts. Who said this was a debate? Do I need to pass an exam to speak my mind? I'm sorry, but I don't see what your goal is by posting replies to my posting. I have a few questions and inquietudes about a subject that is of little concern to my everyday affairs, so I forward my thoughts as they are in the hope that someone better enlightened or at least others thinking on the same lines can give some input. You have done nothing of the kind - if you'd rather pretend to be wise and keep your thoughts to yourself then you won't be helping me or anyone else a bit. If you think me a 'naive amateur' and don't want to fill me in you don't have to answer, and the same goes for anyone else reading this thread. But yet what you say intrigues me - does everyone really think that 'being a Capitalist businessman' is making profit by having the ability to dupe an ignorant public into buying a low-qual product? That is capitalism? Can that be considered a 'skill' thus labour? I don't think so.
  10. Monopolies and Antitrust

    ...now I know you're taking the - whatever. Again you misunderstand, I never strayed from what corporations do to be the first in the lineup of products potential consumers see; I'm not concerned with and never mentioned how much any category of people spend to find what they want and how much it costs to find it. People who search are thinking people and do quite well without me worrying about them, thank you. People in general can be any way they choose to be (within their limitations), they learn their trades and worry little about anything outside of that and their family/social life: this is normal, one can't be expected to strive to (or assume to) know everything (I hope I didn't sound like I was considering to the contrary). The above 'family man' which makes up the majority of the world's population will have his ignorances. Computers were a number one ignorance to people in that category over the last generation; One company of note made it big from exploiting that ignorance without ever making a fully functional and innovative product - and because of it went without success until they managed to get computers using a certain microchip to ship with their buggy OS installed in it. What's even funnier is that the majority of the OS's first users continued buying the next versions because they chalked its problems up to - their own ignorance. One major case, yet the most major. I still hesitate to call that anti-trust though, that sort of manipulation is still undefined in today's laws and I think that whoever's accusing is off the mark. I deplore something but I can't precisely say what it is yet. Something to do with defining the value of a product (the currency spent to make it) and the currency exchanged to buy it. Something about pricing something beyond its real worth with only a money-making goal as a reason. There's something parasitical there because when you take more than your worth, then, in one way or another, the person you take from is losing out. Overstepping the line just a bit is generally accepted as 'trying to get a good deal' - but today this can only generally be applied to person to person trading. With the imposed prices of our mass distribution products we don't have a chance to counter them. By not buying it perhaps, but for already widely-used-and-incompatible-with-other-system-software? Yes, that again. I suppose I could say the same of petrol and motor cars, look at the billions few are making by buying cheap oil from (often despotic) third-world countires and selling it at high prices - to people who have almost no other choice of transportation than petrol-run motor cars. Oh yes, the system's regulated - to keep the system from changing for as long as possible. Yet it is anything but Capitalistic. [added] BTW, Goodnight : ) [/added]
  11. Monopolies and Antitrust

    ...please elaborate, I'd like to know what that 'vital element' is. ...I don't understand what you're getting at with this, either, I think I was quite clear that 'the cost of information' could only cost the consumer if the consumer chose to buy the product advertised. I do lament that ignorant and uninformed people seem to be quite happy being as such, but I never said that had anything about THEM being capitalist or un-the-same. I lament people who make products based on the gullibility of buyers and not for the product itself. Several examples have already been cited in this thread to support this. Listen, why don't you tell us (or at least me : ) what your views of what 'real' Capitalist business practices are? What do you think an example of an 'un-capitalistic' business is, and please provide some examples for clarity. I can read this or that later, but it would be nice to see your arguments here on the board. After all, I entered this thread because I had a question similar to the opening statement, not because I could answer it. I would like to, obviously, as well as clearing up a few other doubts I expressed earlier. Perhaps you could help. For now, many points on the way are quite clear for me, and it's where they're all pointing that still intrigues me.
  12. Monopolies and Antitrust

    Whoa whoa whoa wait a sec. I don't know what your goal is here. Again, and I can't stress it more, I agree with you on capitalism! We're both explaining the same thing in different ways. I don't need you and you don't need me but I can choose to hire you or trade you for your something if I decide I need or want it. Capitalism is even-Steven, tit for tat, all along the board. Point finale. LOL, I think you're just trying to get a rile out of me. No matter, though I don't think much of what you say I think there are many people who do. Shall we continue? I'm glad that you noted that I am still asking myself questions on this point. The closest I've come is: a dollar is what it was initially traded for. Perhaps another thread on this? No matter. Point taken, I'll read. I totally agree with the second sentence and totally disagree with the first. I hope you're not talking about buying televisions and computers, consumers don't buy them for the advertising - at least, I hope they don't. It's not for the consumer to pay for access to information he doesn't necessarily need; a consumer will look where he thinks he should to to find what he needs. If I have a product to sell it is for ME to pay the price for making that consumer see my wares before or while he needs them. Advertising is all about being the first in the consumer's face, and it's usually the product which manages to be omnipresent or first in line which is first bought. The consumer may pay for the price of that advertising through its cost included in the product, but it is I who pays for it first. No, no definition yet. Of the worth of my own work, you mean? I hope you don't. Marginal cost, marginal value? I know what my own profit margins are, it is I who set them. I don't study other people's businesses so I don't know the 'Economics' terms to describe them, but I take care of my own quite well, thank you. My profit margins, probably like any businesses should be, are set as a cushion against eventual loss. When business is brisk, I have a surplus. ...here you must be trying to get a rise out of me. Where did I ever say 'at no charge'? Again I say it's not for the consumer to pay for advertising. I think it was quite obvious what I meant, but I will explain again in case it wasn't. When a company not only spends billions on advertising, fine, the potential customer is bombarded but still has a choice. Now, spending billions on researching points of humanity's weakness such as its tendency to clan (go with the flow) without much thought about it and its tendency to (thoughtlessly) misinterpret its habits as its taste (or 'my choice'). Take all these ads which, after watching them, we have an idea what we'd 'feel like' if we used the product, but have no idea what the real merits of the products are. Yes, today we are meant to 'feel', not to think, and again I say that this is the result of an education which began in the early 1830's. Not so long ago in my books. Blank out? If I wanted to I wouldn't be here.
  13. Monopolies and Antitrust

    What a great question! You found a hole : ) It's important to separate capitalism as a principle and the "capitalism" practiced today. Principalistic capitalism is a very very moral system because it counts on individual as an individual - to each to decide his own worth, and to each the rights to the fruits of his own labour. Now, in practice it's a whole other ballgame. When I try to think of a Corporation giant that owes its success only to the quality of its products I come up with – well, it’s a stickler. I can think of the quality of an individual product and think it’s popular because of that, but when I think above the product itself to the corporation that made it and put it there on the shelf the story changes. Why do I see this product here on the shelf in front of me and not another? Why do I see this product and the same few others like it everywhere? A perfect capitalist success story would be someone inventing a product, putting it on the market, and because of its success being able to advertise and make even more products to provide more people and becoming rich as a result. To continue forward a bit, as mentioned above, if the product inventor father gave some of the fruits of his labour to his son to give him a head start in making his own product, it would still be capitalism. The same if one company invested in another fledgeling company to give it a boost. Things become ‘un-capitalistic’ when the reason for a product’s success is other than its quality. We as consumers are free to choose to buy whatever product we like – but a goal of almost all modern corporations is to maintain and gain success through limiting and controlling those choices. A monopoly leaves a consumer with no other choice but to buy the monopolizer’s product. The same for advertising, monopolizing advertising space limits the product choices the consumer thinks he has. The bigger a company gets, the more power it has to push to the front or to buy another’s place. Buying tons of advertising and distibution in the interest of the product is Capitalism, doing the same with the goal of eliminating contenders and consumer choices isn’t. Things have gotten so bad today that many products are described for their ‘market share’, ‘availability’, ‘consumer exposure’ and ‘brand awareness’, not their quality, and their basic goal is obtaining a monopoly. There are even companies that owe their success to their ability to exploit humen weaknesses – Microsoft is a great example. We all know that it’s human nature is to use the tool we have in front of us, and to prefer a tool that we’ve used before, and the MS spin doctors know it better than we. It’s not for nothing that they spent so much making damn sure that the first OS a new computer owner would see is Windows. Personally I think that any promotional or production tactic used with the intended deriment of a) consumer choice or competitor presence is very un-capitalist. Especially because the quality of the product matters less to those who deal like this. Inventing a great product for a known need and making millions because it’s good and useful is not only Capitalism, it’s progress.
  14. Comments on Leonard Peikoff

    ...yes, it will be a sad thing to see - the reaction to his speeches, I mean: opposition heckling seems to be a national election pasttime. True that you need to convince the voters before any Objectivist will get into office. University teaching is not enough - I hate to see Objectivism almost segregated (and sometimes even by those meant to propegate it) the way it is today. Every working Joe should at least know the fundementals of Objectivism - but to me the funniest part about this is that the major part of Objectivism is the stressing of natural human priorities - If we can somehow bypass the contaminators (religion, dependance on state subsidies, etc) with ONE generation, the battle would be almost won. How to do that? Not by playing 'philosopher's circle', that's for sure ; )
  15. Comments on Leonard Peikoff

    Hee, I'd vote for him! Where do I sign up to become a California citizen ? ; P (added) so nice to see that someone wants to apply Objectivism - but the hardest part is getting it into office. I wish him luck.